Can facial exercise work better than Botox?
It’s a big claim: According to Catherine Pez’s new book, “The 5-Minute Facial Workout: 30 Exercises for a Naturally Beautiful Face,” exercising facial muscles will lift, firm and arrest wrinkles.
“Exercising your face is as healthy for your skin as exercising is for your body,” Pez tells Metro. “Exactly like in the body, muscle contractions improve the firmness of our face.”
Pez, a 66-year-old mother of four, teaches facial gymnastics at conferences and workshops. Her exercise routine suggests working the more than 50 facial muscles for five minutes each day. It’s designed with men and women in mind.
There aren’t any studies proving facial gymnastics’ effectiveness, but Pez’s homespun wisdom says that, like skin, over time muscle fibers loosen and stretch. Toning the muscles counters sagging and also pumps more oxygenated nutrient-rich blood to withering tissue.
Doctor Marco Harmaty, a plastic surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, questions the plan’s effectiveness.
“It doesn’t have any science behind it, so it’s hard to make a case for it,” he says. “It’s counter to the methods of cosmetic surgery and Botox, which is a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide. Stretching out the skin and making muscles stronger and deeper could actually cause skin to wrinkle.”
But he isn’t opposed to the exercises altogether. “I tried some myself and it relaxes muscles, and makes you more at ease. That instantly gives a more rejuvenated look.”
He says the effects are short-term, but that “you’re possibly increasing blood flow to give a bit of a lift.”
“Overall, it’s harmless, but wrinkling up your skin probably causes wrinkles,” he adds.
Pez claims results are quick.
“Improvement depends on several factors, such as genetics, face shape, age and initial skin state,” she says. “We generally see noticeable results after two weeks of exercising the facial muscles at least twice a week.”